Sunday, April 29, 2012

Family Tree Magazine offers more online

The magazines are good, but the website is even better. Family Tree Magazine now offers ebooks as well as access to their magazine online. For an annual subscription of $79.99 you get not only great articles, but also books on line that can teach you how to research your family tree and get the most out of your genealogy hobby/obsession. The e-books cover genealogy, history, heirloom identification, sharing and preserving your family history, and much more. Plus there are also the  information-packed issues of Family Tree Magazine.
E-book reader apps for Android and iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch support are coming soon, but until then the website can be viewed on line at your computer. The ebooks have all the usual features such as bookmarks and the ability to make notes and save your bookmarks and notes.
Family Tree Magazine website also has access to much more information and genealogy help.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Looking after your ancestry!

Have you gone to a lot of trouble to research your family history? Have you spent more money than you would like to admit and collected certificates, photographs and heaps of information? If so, what are you going to do with it now? Your genealogy is very personal and it is up to you if wish to share your research or publish your findings, nonetheless, if you have collected loads of information you owe it to yourself and your descendants to care for it appropriately and treat it as the valuable resource that it is.
Store it correctly! If you have hard copies make sure they are stored in a logical sequence and kept in an acid free environment. If you maintain an electronic file, make sure it is backed-up. It is also worthwhile to scan any certificates, photographs or other important documents and keep electronic copies.
Identify documents, particularly photographs! Write in names, including your own, record dates and if possible the occasion to which the document refers. It is also useful to note the source of the document or photograph.
Keep it up to date! New records are constantly being uploaded to the internet, so it is worth rechecking databases or other sources once or twice a year.
Decide who you will pass it onto! Which family member will look after it, add to it and treasure it as much as you? Or should you pass it on with instructions while you can?
Whatever you choose to do, remember your genealogy research is valuable, so make sure you look after your ancestry!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New York Public Library Digitisation Project

Thousands of historical documents at The New York Public Library – including material handwritten by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and papers from authors such as Mark Twain – will soon be accessible to the public online, thanks in large part due to a generous gift of $500,000 from The Polonsky Foundation. The total cost of the project is $1 million; the $500,000 gift to be matched by similar donations.
The project, which began in January and will continue through to 2014, will digitize documents from the Thomas Addis Emmet Collection, located within the Manuscripts and Archives Division, and almost all the papers of several major American authors in the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature at The New York Public Library.
Technicians at the New York Public Library have already begun digitizing the Thomas Addis Emmet Collection, which documents the founding and early years of the United States – the move towards independence, the Revolutionary War, and the establishment of the federal government. The approximately 11,000 manuscripts in the collection include letters and documents by nearly every patriot and statesman who distinguished himself during this period American history. Their letters provide insight into important historic milestones, such as the Stamp Act Congress, the First and Second Continental Congress, and the Annapolis Convention; trace the genesis of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation; and chronicle the successes and struggles of the first Federal Administration. The correspondence and letterbooks of generals and other officers detail their decisions, actions, and relationships during the Revolutionary War. Highlights of the Emmet Collection include a copy of the Declaration of Independence in Jefferson’s hand, an engrossed copy of the Bill of Rights, and manuscript minutes of the Annapolis Convention. The collection has been a vital and repeatedly consulted resource for American historians since the Library acquired it in 1896.
Following the completion of digitization of the Emmet Collection, nearly all the papers from the Berg Collection’s holdings of Nathaniel Hawthorne, his wife Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain and Walt Whitman will be digitized. An estimated 35,000 pages will be scheduled for digitization beginning in January 2013 and be made available through the Library’s website. Items slated for digitization will include:
• Hawthorne’s correspondence with President James Buchanan, educator Horace Mann, and fellow authors Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Herman Melville, as well as the diaries of his wife, Sophia Peabody Hawthorne that chronicle her own work as a writer and the literary work of her husband;
• An original pencil map of Walden Pond, as well as several Thoreau manuscripts, including Faith in a Seed, about which the novelist Annie Proulx wrote in the Library’s Centennial celebration volume, Know the Past, Find the Future: The New York Public library at 100;
• Mark Twain’s manuscripts of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and Following the Equator, and correspondence with such influential American icons as Andrew Carnegie, William Dean Howells, and Theodore Roosevelt;
• Numerous poems by Walt Whitman and over 300 of his letters, most of them to his mother and to Union soldiers during the Civil War.


Wallace State Community College Library

In the small town of Hanceville in northern Alabama is a magnificent 6 storey college library. The whole of the 5th & 6th floors are given over to the Family and Regional History Collection. It includes an extensive and growing research collection. The Wallace State College Library was the first non-Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints library allowed to borrow directly from the holdings of the Genealogical Society of Utah, including some three million records and books from around the world. The library provides equipment and assistance for the copying of old family photos. Local records of interest are also microfilmed by the college.
Classes in a wide range of genealogical subjects are offered, including: Introductory Genealogy, Advanced Genealogy, Writing a Family History, Introductory Southern Genealogy, Civil War Research and Georgia Research. Students may audit the courses or receive three hours credit per course as a social or behavioral science. During the summer semester, week long symposium courses are offered. Alabama residents aged 60 or older pay no tuition.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Titanic records on

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, has made available a special Titanic collection of over 200,000 records relating to the lives of the passengers, crew and others associated with the Titanic. 1,517 people died when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in the northern Atlantic. has provided free access to this range of records to help you discover the real people who sailed on board. The records include the official passenger list, which gives the names, ages and occupations of the travellers, as well as coroner inquest files. There is also a section of the history of the ship and her tragic maiden voyage.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Date Finder for iPhone and iPad

A new iPhone/iPad app, Date Finder, has been launched. It is said to provide valuable assistance to people researching their family history. It helps overcome a common problem in genealogy research such as differentiating between documents which refer to people of the same name, but are different individuals. Date Finder allows you to cross-reference a person’s age at a date from one document to their age at a date on another document to see if they align.
So when you have two historic documents and you want to establish whether they relate to the same person - Key in date and the persons age on one document into Date Finder. You can then cross reference ages and dates from other documents to see if they are consistent and refer to the same person.
It is available from the App Store: for 99 cents

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Monday, April 9, 2012

1940 U.S. Census

After much promotion, the 1940 U.S. Census schedules are now available for searching. There will not be an index immediately available to search by name, however several organizations have joined forces to take on this task and are asking for your help. The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project is a national volunteer service project that will likely make Internet history as the largest and most innovative use of 'crowd sourcing' ever seen. So you can help index the 1940 Census. They hope to have it totally indexed in six months. If you would like to help out go to - is advertising the census availability as a means to attract people to While it is available through free for a limited time, it is also available through other sources without a fee and no membership requirements. The census can be checked out at:

During the live launch event of the 1940 Census, Census Director Robert Groves was set to search for a member of his family. But the image never loaded, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune. Upon launch the website was immediately overwhelmed. In the first three hours, the website had 22.5 million hits.
The site was designed to support 10 million hits a day, with 25,000 concurrent users. Access issues have now been addressed, but it adds weight to the claim that Genealogy is the biggest hobby in America.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Exeter Cathedral: How do you move 70,000 archives?

Exeter Cathedral is getting ready to open a new centre to keep all its archives in one place. But how do you move thousands of documents, some of which date back to 1050? The Cathedral is home to over 70,000 records stored in various places around the Cathedral.

So the Cathedral has invested 1.5 million pounds in refurbishing the West Wing of the Bishop's Palace to store its archives and run educational programs, an essential investment to preserve the Cathedral's history.

Preserving archival material is now very high-tech with temperature and humidy maintained by electrical equipment and monitored on a daily basis. It is still a huge job to physically move all items and them re-shelve them properly so they can be found and made accessible.

The oldest document in the archives is the Cathedral's Foundation Charter which dates back to 1050, when Edward the Confessor was in charge. The collection officially started in 1072 when the first bishop of Exeter, Hishop Leofric, died and bequeathed 70 books, a bequest which has continued to grow. This will be the first time the archives have been located in one place and able to be accessed by scholars and the public.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chronicling America: Newspapers online

The US is catching up to Australia in providing newspapers online. Chronicling America is a website maintained by the Library of Congress and provides free access to information about hsitoric American newspapers and select digitised newspaper pages from 1836 to 1922. It is produced by the Ntional Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NSNP, a partneship between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long term effort to develop an internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitisation of hsitoric pages. Supported by the NEH, this rich digitial resource will be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of congress. an NEH award program will fund the contribution of content from, eventually , all U.S. states and territories.

With similarites to our National Library's trove website, you can spend hours finding all inds of data. Search terms are highlighted on the webpage, and type is easily manipulated for readability.

Certainly worth a look!

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